Title – Last Action Hero (1993)
Director – John McTiernan (Die Hard)
Cast – Arnold Schwarzenegger, Austin O’Brien, Charles Dance, F. Murray Abraham, Tom Noonan, Anthony Quinn
Plot – Young movie fanatic Danny (O’Brien) is magically transported into his favorite action star Jack Slater’s (Schwarzenegger) latest big screen adventure where he finds out that being in the movies isn’t all its cracked up to be when life and death situations arise.
“Here, in this world, the bad guys can win!”
Review by Eddie on 14/10/2020
An extremely meta offering that was quite possibly too ahead of its time upon release, the failures of box office bomb Last Action Hero have been well documented in Hollywood for many years now as the films notorious release against Jurassic Park saw its potential financial possibilities go south quickly, as well as sending the career’s of its director and leading man into places they had yet to dwell in.
Filled with ample potential and more ideas than multiple films put together, Hero feels exactly like the type of film it was in a behind the scenes sense, as it filmed right up into its release window, with the final product not allowing itself any time to breathe or feel at home within itself as it wastes some aspects of its story and unnecessarily extends other elements, giving off the feeling that we are witnessing an unfinished film be put forward as something that wasn’t able to grasp exactly what it was or wanted to be.
It’s a real shame as when the film is riding along at a rapid pace and the embracing of its over the top goodness appears front and center, McTiernan’s film is a rollicking good time that features one of Schwarzenegger’s most enjoyable turns, one that is happy to poke fun at his career until that point and a general skewering of the Hollywood action genre in general.
Starring as made up action hero come to life Jack Slater (who in an extremely funny way is played by a version of the real life Schwarzenegger), Arnie is having a great time ramping up the one liners and career references as the film introduces us to the Hollywoodized world that young film fan Danny finds himself in and in the films middle section you get a real sense for just what could’ve been had the film tied in all the elements with McTiernan’s action direction, the films insane Looney Tunes like carnage and Shane Black and David Arnott’s at times very witty script combining to great effect.
There’s so much of the film however that just doesn’t gel.
Jack and Danny’s friendship never takes full flight, a very slow beginning and rather medicore finale hurt and the film loses a fair chunk of momentum when it re-enters the real world just after the half way mark and you get a sense that had it committed to establishing itself in the over-blown Hollywood version of itself it would’ve made for a far more consistently enjoyable romp rather than one that feels as though its ready to be something amazing, but remains constantly weighed down by a sense of what might have been.
Final Say –
Somewhere out there in the movie universe is great film known as Last Action Hero, while this version we get is fun and original in many ways, you can see why it failed to resonate into the genre classic it might have been had all the stars aligned.
3 Ice-Cream cones out of 5